Apple Investing $390 Million In Finisar From Its Advanced Manufacturing Fund

Apple Investing $390 Million In Finisar From Its Advanced Manufacturing Fund

Apple has announced on Wednesday, Dec. 13, that it chose to invest a hefty $390 million in Finisar, a US company that makes iPhone laser chips.

VCSELs are already used in Apple products for Face ID and animoji selfie modes in the iPhone X as well as proximity sensing for AirPods. Apple says that in the fourth quarter of 2017 it will purchase "10 times more VCSEL wafers than were previously manufactured worldwide over a similar time period".

Shares of Finisar, a Sunnyvale, California-based optical components maker, rose more than 30 percent to $25.41 on Wednesday morning.

Back in May Apple announced its Advanced Manufacturing Fund with a $1 billion investment.

Finisar will use the money to refurbish a manufacturing plant in Texas where it will build chips created to power special iPhone features including Face ID, animojis and portrait photography. Apple's move is also about investing in American businesses.

"We're excited to continue our innovation with Apple of a technology that has tremendous potential", said Jerry S. Rawls, CEO of Finisar.

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Apple's Advanced Manufacturing Fund is meant to create new manufacturing jobs and opportunities in the US.

It's not unusual for Apple to finance its suppliers.

Beyond R&D, Finisar will build a new 700,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Sherman, Texas, where it also plans to hire roughly 500 people to staff its engineering, technical and maintenance teams. The company runs a plant in Allen, just outside of Dallas.

Finisar's new facility should be fully operational by the second half of 2018. Corning Inc, the maker of glass for iPhone and iPad screens, earlier received US$200 million for glass processing.

With much of the manufacturing and assembly for its products done in China, Apple has faced criticism from US President Donald Trump and others for not creating more jobs in the US Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook announced the manufacturing fund in May. "Technology is only as good as the people behind it, and Finisar is a company with a long history of putting its employees first and supporting the community it's a part of".

Face ID uses a TrueDepth front-facing camera on the iPhone X, which has multiple components. Apple Inc is spending US$390 million (RM1.6 billion) to boost production from a maker of laser technology that's critical for new iPhone X features such as facial recognition.

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